Gallery Debuts at National Museum

Reed Travel Features

GEORGE TOWN -- The Cayman Islands National Museum has opened a gallery, which represents the first expansion of the building's exhibit space since its debut in the Old Court Building in 1990.

The museum is located in a building that dates from 1833 on the waterfront at Hog St. Bay. In earlier times, the building was used as a jail, a courthouse and a dance hall.

On view today in the museum are more than 2,000 artifacts reflecting the island's history and its people.

The first exhibit in the new gallery space was dedicated to the national symbols of the Cayman Islands, which include the national bird (the Cayman parrot), the flower (the wild banana orchid) and tree (the silver thatch palm).

The gallery also includes exhibits that highlight the Cayman Islands' national flag, song and coat of arms.

Framed specimens of the latest stamp issue feature 12 cultural symbols of the Cayman Islands.

Displays also honor the late Hon James M. Bodden, a national hero of the Cayman Islands, and Sybil McLaughlin, the Speaker of the House.

The museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students.

The museum shop features a selection of Caymanian items such as books, crafts and jewelry.

For details, call the National Museum at (345) 949-8368.

Another Caymanian treasure that was recognized recently is Elmslie Memorial Church in central George Town, built in 1922.

The church recently became the fourth building to be designated by the National Trust as a building of interest under the Trust's Historic Plaques' program.

Elmslie was the first concrete block structure constructed on Grand Cayman and the most elaborate building on the island in the early 1920s.

The church and its vaulted mahogany ceilings, benches and platforms illustrate the workmanship of Caymanian carpenters of that period, who were primarily shipbuilders.

The National Trust introduced its Historic Plaques' program in March 1995.

Elmslie Memorial joins the Public Library, Town Hall and the main Post Office in the program. The church is open daily to visitors.

For more information, call (345) 949-7923.

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